Most important thing in a synagogue

What are the most important things to you in the synagogue and why?

A day or two ago I got this question and I do believe it was one of the questions that wasn’t answered months ago due to this website having problems.

To myself the most important thing within a synagogue and most likely to most Jews as well – the Torah and the Ark that holds it. The Torah I am pretty sure does not need to be explained why it is important to myself so I will move onto the Ark.

The Ark in a nutshell is where the Torah scrolls are stored when they are not being read and so on. It both protects and reminds us of the original ark itself.

The last important thing outside of the synagogue itself would be the people themselves. Without each other none of our culture or community would be here today.

Most important thing about a synagogue

What is the most important thing about a synagogue for Jewish people?

First, I’m sorry about the last of replies on this website. I had a problem with the wp_post table which stopped me from posting anything on this website and then after I fixed it a new editor was released that caused further issues.

Anyhows I’m going to go over a few of my backlog and this is the first question. If I don’t answer your question soon please do re-send.

So a while back I got this question and in my opinion there is two answers. The first is regarding the Torah and the studying and much more that goes on there but honestly I think there is a second answer that I think many will agree with me on – the community.

A synagogue brings Jews together and band together as a community much like how a church is a central point of many Christian lives – a place where they can stay in touch with their local community.

Reading of the will

Sorry about the lack of replies right now – am going to be going over my quite large backlogs and life right now be taking over so much of my time.

So I got two questions the other day which you can read below.

Hi! My question is: after a death, how long would a mourner wait to read the deceased’s will? Would it be totally taboo – or even not allowed – for the next of kin to ask to see if the day after death? Many thanks 🙂

Sorry, another question – I read that flowers weren’t a done thing at Jewish funerals, but would a Synagogue make an exception if the deceased, was, say, in a relationship with someone non-Jewish, who wanted to have flowers? Thankyou!

To answer the first bit about the will – It might just be me but I never heard or read anything that says you can’t read the will a day after a death. I did try to look up from a few different sources but I couldn’t find anything. I could be wrong but I can’t find anything to say otherwise.

Regarding the flowers, you are correct there. There is a couple of reasons why we don’t place flowers and its mostly down to everyone being equal, flowers die and not a good way to remember someone and that its better usage elsewhere for the money you spend on the flowers.

What I mean by this is it’s better to give the money you were going to spend on flowers over to a charity in the memory of the one that has passed away. It will help other people and have a far more long impact and after you done that take a simple stone and place it on the grave to show someone still remembers.

Regarding the actual question would they allow it? This is a harsh “maybe” but it might be seen as disrespectable or even just removed outright.

I’m going to toss out a link to Chabad about what you can expect on the day:

What are your thoughts on crypto currency?

A short while ago I got the following question and one I am going to enjoy answering:

What are your thoughts on crypto currency?

To myself personally, I believe cryptocurrency is a way forward in changing how we think about money on a day to day basis and to get that away from a centralized location such as with the Government and banks. To be able to have a source of currency that isn’t subjectable to the will of world Governments is a great thing (although they do come with their own problems a Google search will go into these) for us as a society.

In terms of investing in them, however, I wouldn’t be so quick to jump into it. Bitcoin is one of the few cryptocurrencies that has actually made a profit and is trusted and the others I have heard about is somewhat questionable and I would not trust throwing your money at it.

Now I am now an investor but I can tell you the bubble will pop in future but the greatest benefit behind it is the technology we gained from it and the fact we can have a currency without Government input is a way forward in the future.

With all that said I love cryptocurrency and believe it will be the future but give it time and there will be laws either controlling it, making it illegal or some other stuff to make it unwanted and that is where cryptocurrency will really be tested as a currency that can be used daily and replace what we know about money now.

What do Jewish men like as gifts?

With Hanukkah now over I thought I would come back to answering a few questions and while there are two very interesting questions I will answer some point next week (one about digital currency – will be an interesting read!) I figured I will do this quick one.

So the question was simple – what do Jewish men like for gifts. Well this is the same as any male really it all depends on what they like and typically buying something for their hobby would be great. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with a website like (no referral link).


Contacting to Judaism at a young age

A short while ago I got a question from Izzy who asked.

How can I convert to Jewism if I’m 14?

The technical answer is you can convert at that age but practically I doubt it will be possible for a Rabbi to start the progress with you as converting is quite a serious choice you have to make.

With that said there is nothing stopping you right now from going to a local Rabbi from the branch of Judaism you wish to convert to and speaking to them, getting used to the culture and learning much more about Judaism so you know you are making the right choice.

It also worth saying that your local Shul quite likely has evening lessons about Judaism (and possibly Hebrew) where you can learn a lot more.

Remember there is no harm at all from having an interest in Judaism at such a young age – I did as well!

Ask a Jew is back

It has been over three years from when I shut down this website. For those wondering why the website went offline was I decided to close it down for two reasons as I was insanely busy at the time and that I started to get so many abuse emails that I decided it was not worth running it at the time.

But things have changed and I am now in a position to carry on running this website for the foreseeable future 🙂

So please feel free to ask as many questions as you want!

(While I believe I restored as much as I could there may be some questions missing in the archives).

Why did Jesus have to die?

Slightly different style question today. Today I got the following.

this is going to bea touchy question and if it offends anyone, I am profoundly sorry but I am asking out of ignorance and I truly want to know. I have asked this question of Christian pastors but no one seems to be able to answer me or get what I am trying to ask. So, rather than ask a believer in Christ, I would rather ask a Rabbi. my question is very profound and please just concentrate on my words. The core of Christian faith is that Christ died for our sins.I just don’t understand this.from a strictly cause and effect position, Why would a divine being need to sacrifice himself? What universal law was in effect from the beginning of existence that says that a god must die to forgive the sins of lesser creatures?or perhaps it was just a gesture? A grand gesture to show how much God loved us? I can understand this more if there was a logical cause and effect. For instance, if you are reading a story or a book, or watching a movie and see so meone give their life to save someone else. You understand why, you see the cause and effect and the reasons. But I see no reason for the verse “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son’. of course, faith has much to do with this, but faith cannot answer my question. And does faithful enough to just believe this cannot answer my question either.why not, if God so loved the world, he declared it divine law that our sins were forgiven, or just allowed us to be. Why sacrifice his incarnated son? there must be some law or rule to define this. Why must Christ be sacrificed for the sins of the world? why the death of a god? the god rather?of course I know that Judaism is not Christianity and more than likely you’re asking yourself, why I ask a Jew this? well, I ask because no doubt you are a learned and scholarly person, but I also ask you because I have not been able to find an adequate answer elsewhere. Thank you for any enlightenment might be able to give m e.

Actually a good question compared to half of them I get on here. Now I am not sure if this will actually answer your question but I too have problems understanding the answer behind it and that is – atonement or better way to put it. I may be wrong with this answer but I will try the best that I can based on what I know and information that I can find..

  1. That there is a G’d.
    1. Gen. 1:1, “In the beginning G’d created the heavens and the earth.”
  2. That G’d is limitless
    1. Psalm 90:2, “Before the mountains were born, Or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art G’d.”
    2. Psalm 147:5, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.”
    3. Jer. 23:24, “Can a man hide himself in hiding places, So I do not see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord.”
  3. G’d is holy
    1. Isaiah 6:3, “And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”
    2. Rev. 4:8 “And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord G’d, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”
  4. G’d is righteous
    1. Neh. 9:32-33, “Now therefore, our G’d, the great, the mighty, and the awesome G’d, who dost keep covenant and lovingkindness, Do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before Thee, Which has come upon us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and on all Thy people, From the days of the kings of Assyria to this day. 33“However, Thou art just in all that has come upon us.”
    2. 2 Thess. 1:6, “For after all it is only just for G’d to repay with affliction those who afflict you.”
  5. Therefore, G’d is infinitely holy and just.
  6. Furthermore, G’d speaks out of the character of what He is.
    1. Matt. 12:34, “…For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”
  7. G’d spoke the Law
    1. Exodus 20:1-17, “Then G’d spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the Lord your G’d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me….”
  8. That the law G’d passed is holy and righteous.
    1. Rom. 7:12, “So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.”
  9. Due to this, breaking G’d law is to offend him.
  10. Thus G’d must punish the law breaker – why have law if it is not to be enforced.
    1. Amos 2:4, “Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of Judah and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because they rejected the law of the Lord And have not kept His statutes.”
    2. Rom. 4:15, “…for the Law brings about wrath.”
  11. G’d decided that death must be the punishment.
    1. Ezekiel 18:4, “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine.  The soul who sins will die.”
    2. Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of G’d is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  12. Due to this, the sinners need to escape G’d judgement else they will face damnation.
    1. Rom. 1:18, “For the wrath of G’d is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
    2. Matt. 25:46, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
  13. However due to G’d being infinite, the offense of sin is also infinite meaning nothing a sinner can do can fix the sin.
    1. Gal. 2:16, “…by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”
    2. Gal. 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of G’d; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
    3. Rom. 8:3, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, G’d did: sending His own Son…”
  14. Because G’d want to people to be saved and the sinner can not do it, G’d has to do it.
  15. Thus Jesus is born – who is G’d in the flesh.
    1. John 1:1,14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with G’d, and the Word was G’d…. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
    2. Col. 2:9, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”
  16. Jesus follows the law.
    1. 1 Tim. 2:5, “For there is one G’d, and one mediator also between G’d and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
    2. Gal. 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of the time came, G’d sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
  17. This bit I am not too sure why and how, but Jesus took the sins of mankind when he died on the cross but due to this the law and the punishment is done.
    1. 2 Cor. 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of G’d in Him.”
    2. 1 Peter 2:24, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”
    3. Rom. 8:3-4, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, G’d did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
  18. Thus Jesus died in our place and thus provided salvation.
    1. Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of G’d; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
    2. Gal. 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.”
    3. Eph. 5:2, “and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to G’d as a fragrant aroma.”

So according to the Christian faith, Adam and Eve was sinned but due to the nature of G’d we could not save ourselves. So instead G’d saves mankind by sending Jesus which was G’d in the flesh.

What can I do with a neo-nazi?

A few days ago I got the following question.

Dear Rabbi,
I’m a NY Jew living in the SouthWest UK, a town called Plymouth. It doesn’t have a regular weekly Rabbi but has one of the oldest Synagogues in the UK. The Jewish community exists but is SMALL. I own and live in a beautiful listed, historical building with other middle class folk, 25 flats total. A neo Nazi somehow got thru the vetting process of a skanky estate agent and now lives right next to my flat. They started parking their motorcycles in front of this lovely building, in a non-designated area that makes it difficult for resident’s cars to get into their spots and get out. It turns out one of the 2 bikes has a large Swastica on the top of it’s seat and is VERY noticable to all that enter and leave the building. If anyone should wish to sell or even rent their flats, this Swastika will be seen to all potenial tenants etc. For myself, I simply can’t bear living in a building with a disgusting flat of twisted racist white supremicist Jew haters. And right next to my flat as well. The town of Plymouth was destroyed completely by the Nazi’s in WW2 so I can’t believe the other tenants can live with this threat either. I’m VERY upset about this, but don’t know where to turn for help in this matter. Please advise if you can? Many thanks, my blood is BOILING!

I know what you are feeling and it is never a good feeling. Your problem can only be sorted by contacting the council and the police. The first problem with the bikes as if they are parking in a area they are not allowed too then contact the land lord of the building and explain to them the problems people are having with parking their cars but sadly there is little anyoen can do about the swastica.

There is not much I can say about them living right next to you but I would imagine you are feeling threaten living there and if so I woudl contact the police and tell them. Also try contacting your local MP and explain the problem to them as these are the only people that can really do anything about it.

With that said, sadly neo-nazism is not illegal in the United Kingdom but if they outright make a threat or do anything to offend you – document it and go to the police right away.

Is yahweh and allah the same?

So about a week or so ago I got a question (for those that I have not yet answered, I am getting around to them – really need to change how I get these questions!) which related to Islam.

Dear Rabbi, I am so happy that I can write to you. I am a Christian and have a great respect for your Faith.
My daughter recently divorced her husband (with 3 children) and married her Iraqui muslim boyfriend. She has converted to Isalm. The conversion I think is not on religious grounds but more so she can marry this man.
They will say that Allah is the same God of the Christians and Jews. Do you agree (the Trinity apart)?
Is Allah the same as the God of Abraham, Jacob etc? I personaly think not. What is your opinion?
With all good wishes

I have always been one to believe people should not really need to convert just to marry someone and be with them but I am aware the Islāmic community is quite vocal on that point. Now so I do not confuse any readers, I am going to be using the name Allah for The G’d of the Qur’an and Yahweh for the G’d of the Jewish / Christian faith.

There is little doubt there is a connection between the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible and that they both worship and accept the same G’d – Yahweh although they both do so in different ways. The main different between the two beliefs is how they understand G’d which mostly goes down to the Christian view of the trinity and thus Yahweh is the G’d of Abraham – something no one really will debate.

However when it comes to Allah this is not so clear although a Muslim will tell you otherwise. The reason for this is unlike the origins of Judaism and by proxy, Christianity Islam came about independently from what I am going to call “Abrahamism”. Islam itself claims they are descendants of Ishmael … but there is no proof of that and there is no evidence in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) or anywhere else basically (although the core of Islam does claim Jews edited the holy books etc).

Now Islam does claim to be a Abrahamic religion but the thing is nothing came from Abraham at all. With the Jewish faith everything has been passed down from generations to the next descendants while with Islam it was passed down to Mohammad by an angel (not sure which one, will research it later).

As you can see there is not really a connection between Islam and Judaism (although the religions are alike).

Now with all that in mind, its time to answer the question. There is little connection between Judaism and Islam (like there is with Christianity) but Islam claims they are the same G’d but just like with the Christian faith, they have a different way of understanding and accepting G’d.

So to answer your question in a few words – They worship the same G’d with a different understanding and holy text. With all that said the two religions believe in different things and although Judaism is “meant” to be respected within Islam, I have found that rarely to be the case.